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How to Protect Your Business from Ransomware 

What is Ransomware? 

Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that takes your files, data or computer hostage until you pay money. When a ransomware attack happens, your computer or browser  may lock up and you may see a ransomware note or your files will be encrypted, leaving you not being able to access them.

 

How does your computer get it? 

There are a few ways ransomware and other types of malware can infect your computer.

Opening links on emails from unknown sources

If you get an email from an unknown email address with a link attached, it’s better not to open it. It could be disguised as a coworker or trusted company. If something about the email seems off, check to see if there are typos in the name or email address. This can be an indicator that the email is fake. These types of emails are called phishing. 

Opening links or websites from social media messages

Like the messages that come to your email with a malware virus in them, these are often sent by people you don’t recognize or fake accounts. If a link looks suspicious, do not open it, even if it is from a family member or friend. Their accounts could have been hacked. It is better to check with them to make sure the file is safe.

Using unsecure sites 

Sites have their own protection on them. If this has been breached or it is a site set up for malicious purposes, it could put your data and computer at risk. Your browser will usually give you a warning before entering the site. If this happens, it is best to back out of the site. 



Steps to protecting your computer against ransomware

– Making sure your computer and software is up to date

– Check emails addresses and look for signs that a website could be fake before downloading anything 

– Backup your files and data 

The number one way to make sure your data is secure and protected is by having a good backup system in place. If a ransomware attack does happen, you don’t want to pay the money to get your files back, because there is no guarantee that you will get the data back. When you have a good backup system in place, you know that even if something does happen, your data is secure and can be redownloaded onto your computer. 

 

If you need help setting up a backup system for your company, contact us and one of our WesTec reps can go over the options and help you decide what is best for your company.  Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook!

 

 

 

 

Data Backup: Risks of Not Backing Up Your Company’s Data

 

Think of how much of your company’s work is done on a computer and all of the programs, files and information that is stored. If your company does not have a data backup system, you’re at risk of losing it all. That could be detrimental to your business. 

 

So what could cause your systems to go down and experience data loss? There are a few different scenarios where your company could be at risk. 

 

Hardware, Software or System MalfunctionsMalware

If you work on a computer, you know they’re not always perfect. Sometimes systems fail or malfunction. If this happens and your data is not backed up, you lose all of your files. If you had a data backup system in place, you could simply load up the backup and restore your information that was lost.

 

Human error 

We’ve all made the mistake of accidentally deleting something we weren’t supposed to. It could be that an employee thought the file was something else or accidentally clicked the delete button. Without data backup, those files would be lost forever and the work would have to be redone. With backups, you’ll be able to restore the file and continue the workday. 

 

Malware or Ransomware 

Malicious Software, malware for short, is what people refer to as computer viruses. There are different types of malware, with some having the ability to delete everything on your computer system. Ransomware is a type of virus that holds your data captive unless you pay a dollar amount. If you have a good backup system in place, you won’t have to pay the ransom and you will still have access to your data. 

 

Natural disasters

In Houston, there are many things that could happen, in particular, flooding. If your computer and hard drive were to be destroyed in a flood or fire, you could lose your data.

 

Computer, Data BackupWhile many things could happen, the risk associated with losing your data and files can be mitigated by properly backing up your data. There are different types of backups and data protection. If you would like to start protecting your company’s data, contact us and one of our WesTec reps can go over the options and help you decide what is best for your company.  Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook! 

 

 

 

What is a Network Health Check?

For a business or home to run successfully, strong network connection in computers is essential. WesTec offers computer Network Health Checks, but what does that entail?

If your computer(s) are running slower than usual, your network is glitching, or there have been security breaches, you might be due for a Network Health Check. 

What Are Network Health Checks?

Network Health Check can be defined as a way to test the critical components of a network for performance, reliability, and other security issues. These checks provide security which ensure that your network is sustained to best practices and maximize availability. Because networks can be at risk of security breaches, and malfunction, checking your network health should be done at least once a quarter; some even request that checks are done with more frequency to prevent data loss, poor performance, and others. 

Where We Come In

At WesTec, we come to you, on site, and complete a Health Check Audit and check for maximum speed, security, and performance. During the audit, we would also check for any problems such as spyware, failing hard drives, or out-of-date security patches. In addition, we check your computer’s network security, backups, and other issues which could lead to expensive repair bills. At the end of the audit, a report will be provided to you with all information regarding the vulnerability of your network as well as what can be done to fix it. 

Now that you have a detailed definition and explanation of a Network Health Check, you might find yourself in need of one. We work diligently to make sure that your network is safe, strong, and reliable. Network Health Audits are only one of the many services we offer. Click here for our services or for any additional questions or requests, contact us. We are more than happy to help!

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Confidential Data Storage

Step by Step: How to Safely Store Confidential Data

Now, more than ever, we have to be cautious of our personal documents – whether professional or personal. Information can be easily leaked, lost, or hacked. Follow this step-by-step guide to safely store confidential data:

Disk Encryption

First, enable full disk encryption. This protects all confidential data if its devices fall into the wrong hands. There is software that does the job for you on Microsoft and Apple devices. It is important to note that said software should not be turned off or deleted once applied – this will assure that data stays safe. 

Secure Hard Disks and Flash Drives

Second, important data can be stolen through physical media such as external hard disks or flash drives rather than digitally. Said devices should never be taken out of the place of business or left unattended. In addition, there should always be a backup to your backup, which is where encryption comes into play. 

Password-Protected Archives

Third, any data that has not been previously stored/encrypted should never be transferred over the internet. Sending important data over programs such as e-mail or file sharing services is sometimes required, but never ideal; however, the easiest way to avoid data theft is to encrypt the data and put it in a password-protected archive. Passwords for the archive should be set through a different channel.

Safely Delete Old Data

Fourth, companies sometimes hoard information that they no longer need. Most times, said information has classified or important data that should not be possessed by the wrong person. The best way to keep the information safe is by getting rid of it once it is of no use to the company. Additionally, never forget to also delete it from the Recycle bin as well; for anything sensitive, use a file-shredder to prevent recovery. 

Secure Passwords

Lastly, any archives or passwords created for data storage should be safely secured. Losing and leaking passwords is not a difficult task. The easiest way to keep passwords secure is through programs such as Kasperski. 

To Store Confidential Data is simple, when the right steps are followed. Practice the above, and your data will be protected for years to come. For any additional questions or requests, contact us

5 Smartphone Security Risks and How To Prevent Them - WesTec Services

5 Smartphone Security Risks and How to Prevent Them

Phone technology is constantly evolving. Although new tech toys are fun and functional, there are always underlying dangers. Here are 5 smartphone security risks and how to prevent them. 

Smartphone Security Risks - WesTec

Risks:  

Unintentional Disclosure of Data

Malicious disclosure of sensitive or private information.

Phishing Attacks

Scams made by actors pretending to be a trusted source or individual. 

Spyware Attacks

Type of malicious malware or software downloaded without the consent or knowledge of a victim. 

Diallware Attacks

Stealing money from a designated user through malware that uses hidden message service or numbers. 

Network Congestion

Network is overloaded with links and malware, causing lots of traffic. 

Preventions: 

Encrypt Mobile Devices

Encrypting is the process of converting information into secret codes which prohibits unknown users from accessing. 

Update All Apps and Operating Systems

Updating apps and operation systems with frequency lowers the chances of your information being compromised – sometimes through improved bug fixes. 

Set Strong Passwords

Strong passwords often include: 

  • A minimum of 8 characters
  • At least one capitalized letter
  • The use of special characters such as, @!#
  • At least one numeric character

Consider Deactivating Smartphone Functionalities Such as Siri, Cortana, and Others

Smartphone functions such as Siri and Cortana save all data for future use. Make sure that if these functions are being utilized, no private information is shared — or do not use them at all. 

Don’t Ignore Error Messages About The Validity of Certificates

A variety of websites do a proper job of calling out accounts or messages that are unsafe. Always read any error messages for certificates or accounts. 

Remember: There are thousands of other smartphone security risks, but if you take the proper precautions the chances of any data leakage are slim. 

Have any more concerns about smartphone technology? WesTec Services can help! Contact us with any questions you may have and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Data Privacy Laws in the US

 

Today’s technology is constantly changing and evolving, oftentimes leaving our vital personal information at risk of being sold, leaked or taken. But did you know that there are certain laws in place to protect your data? Here is everything you need to know about data privacy laws in the US:

 

US Privacy Act of 1974

The US Privacy Act was passed by congress in 1974. The main purpose of this act is to protect the privacy of individuals and prevent unwanted invasions of their privacy or data from federal companies. This includes the closure of personal information. Some key points of this act include: 

  • All citizens have the right to any data held by the government
  • Citizens can correct or change any data 
  • Sharing information between different federal corporations is prohibited 

FTC Act

The FTC or the Federal Trade Commission Act is another important privacy act in the US. It was first introduced in 1914 and is used to enforce the protection of data and privacy of individuals. This act is also used in court to investigate data violations. Similar to other data privacy laws, the FTC focuses on the use of equality and prevents deceptive acts that may affect commerce. 

HIPAA

Personal medical information is one of the most vital pieces of data that is protected. HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects all forms of medical information. This act sets limits and uses disclosures in order to get medical information private and secure. 

FCRA

Credit scores and anything pertaining to credit card agencies are protected under The Fair Credit Reporting Act. This act’s purpose is to establish fair, equal and private information that credit card agencies might have. This also prevents certain companies from selling your information to other companies. 

 

Having all your information online can be scary, but just know that there are laws in place to protect you and your information. 

Technology can be confusing, and it’s important to know your rights! Have any further questions on internet privacy? Contact WesTec today! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn



The Most Common Causes of Data Loss

Data loss can happen to anyone or any business. It can be frustrating, especially when you aren’t aware of why or how it happened. Most data loss happens when you least expect it. It is important to know when your data is at risk of being lost. Here are the most common causes of data loss:

 

Human Error

We all make mistakes one way or another. When data is lost, most of the time it is due to accidentally deleting information or not backing it up. When this happens, some information can be restored through recycle bins or the internal software file. This is frustrating, but can easily be solved by setting up an automatic backup system. 

Viruses 

Viruses are very common, and are often the culprit of data loss. These pesky viruses can enter your system through unsafe links or downloads. Once they get into your system, they can delete any and all of your information. In order to prevent viruses, there are many guard softwares that will protect your devices. Depending on which guard software you have, it will need to be updated regularly to conduct scans and security checks. Without guard software, you can protect your information by paying close attention to certain emails or downloads that may be sent or presented to you. 

Power Outages 

Power outages can happen anytime, and most outages cause data loss. Similar to human error, it can be prevented by constantly saving your information and backing it up. The trickiest part is that you don’t know when a power outage will happen, so it is important to regularly save your data. However, most of the time when a power outage happens, most systems will automatically save, but you should also take precautions in your own hands. 

Hackers 

Recently, hackers are becoming more common when it comes to data loss. Hackers usually enter your system due to poor quality servers, weak firewalls, or using common passwords. There are many ways to prevent hackers such as strong passwords, safe web searches and guard softwares. Unfortunately, information that is stolen from a hacker cannot be restored, which is why it is important to have effective cybersecurity measures. 

 

Have any questions about the right technology services for you or your business? WesTec services can help. Contact us with any questions you may have and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

 

Cyber Security for Startups

Are you interested in creating your own startup? Are you afraid of any cyber risks? Any business, especially startups, are at risk for cyber attacks. These attacks can be detrimental to a business or online presence. It is vital to know what these attackers are looking for and how to protect yourself. Here are some tips to secure you and your startup from cyber attacks:

Account Admin 

Depending on how big your startup is and how many accounts will be online, it is a good idea to have one admin account. This means the one admin account will have the authority to grant access to fellow accounts and ability to download data and software. This will cut back on online vulnerability as only one person will have access to important data. Along with an admin account, you can also unlock certain data and access to different accounts within the startup. For example, you can grant access to the financial department of bank account statements and billing information. Not only will this limit the risk of cyber threats, it will also cut back on time that the admin would have to grant access every time. 

Strong Passwords

Having strong passwords isn’t a surprise when it comes to cybersecurity. But, the top way hackers get into systems is going through weak passwords. In order to stop this, it is recommended that every password should have a capital letter, special characters and numbers. It is also important to never share passwords. 

Multi-Factor Authentication

No matter how strong passwords can be, hackers can still find a way in. Thankfully, more systems are requiring a multi-factor authentication process when logging into an account. This means that even if someone has your password, it can require a phone number or email to fully login. Most online softwares offer this level of security, you just have to authorize it. 

Knowing how to protect you and your startup from cyber attacks is crucial. With selecting admin accounts, strong passwords and multi-factor authentication process, hackers will have a harder time logging into your accounts.

 

Cyber threats can be irritating and hard to effectively prevent them. WesTec services can help you in any way. We offer skilled expertise in all technologies and are ready to help. Contact us for any further information on phishing and how to protect yourself. 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Video Surveillance Systems for 2022

 

Video surveillance systems are one of the most effective ways for protecting and monitoring a space or business. With loads of surveillance services on the market, it can be hard to choose the best one for you. Here are the top video surveillance systems predicted for 2022.

 

Protection 1

Ranked the highest, Protection 1 video surveillance company offers a wide variety of services for many companies and areas. Each hardware can be customized to your specific liking. They include 24 hour surveillance that is protected, leaving the most accurate video data. This data can be located through their mobile application. Pricing is dependent on what plan is chosen, but the only downside is that you must sign a three year contact with every plan. 

 

Blink by Amazon

Blink by Amazon is a user-friendly and cost effective option for surveillance. Popular for their no monthly fee or contracts, this device is becoming more popular for everyday users. Like other popular companies, they also work through an app, however it requires wifi in order to work. 

 

Alibi Security 

Alibi is a system that is usually paired with an already existing company. This simplys upgrades the performance of the system and is considered a hybrid option. You can pair this with the previous system, IP or analog, without changing the camera itself. It allows you to connect the old device with the new system allowing you to still access the data. For pricing, you must contact an Alibi Security representative. 

 

No matter what surveillance system you decide on, it is important to do research and make sure the system is perfect for you. 

 

Let Westec Services help you decide on and install the best video surveillance system for you or your business. We offer our expertise in all IT issues and are willing to work diligently and professionally for all of our clients. Feel free to contact us and check out the  services we offer. 

Smart Shopping

 

Shopping online has many risks that some shoppers fall victim to. Whether it be personal information stolen, wifi breach or virtual viruses, it is important to know how to become a smart shopper and prevent these risks from becoming a reality. Here are some tips to be a smart shopper: 

 

Know What You’re Buying

Popular smart devices can easily help us and make our lives easier, but it is important to know exactly what you want and what risks might be present. Things to know are: 

 

  • Who makes it?
  • What is its purpose?
  • Do you trust the company?
  • Have you read the reviews?

 

All of these things can prevent negative things from happening and make you more aware of what devices you are potentially bringing into your life or home. 

 

Buy Familiar Brands 

To limit the risks of buying alone, it is a good idea to buy from familiar or well known brands. These top brands are more likely to have stronger security on devices that hackers will have a hard time getting into and less likely to have any security breaches. Also, top brands are constantly updating their system and creating a safer place for the devices. Rarely hackers get into the system but when they do, these big companies are quick to fix it and will most likely send out a message to customers making them aware of the threat. It is important to be able to trust the brand or company and feel confident is how they handle these risks. 

 

 Are you having issues with becoming a smart shopper and protecting your information? Westec services can help!  Schedule a call with one of our professionals today!

 

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Mission: WesTec will be a “turn-key” solution for all of its clients’ business connectivity needs. It will offer efficient and effective solutions, directly and with strategic partners, that create tangible value for its clients at every point of contact. Westec will serve all people and entities with a servant’s heart.

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